DJI Air 2S vs Mavic Air 2: which is the best mid-budget drone to buyPho­to:

You have been choos­ing a quad­copter for a long time and final­ly decid­ed to buy Mav­ic Air 2, but then DJI came out with a new prod­uct with a cool cam­era, the lat­est com­mu­ni­ca­tion and obsta­cle avoid­ance sys­tems, a com­pact fold­ing body… Yes, the Air 2S drone received the most flat­ter­ing reviews, but how much does it real­ly bet­ter than the orig­i­nal Mav­ic Air 2? In this review, we will com­pare two mid-bud­get mod­els from DJI to find the answer to this ques­tion.


For many pilots, the Mav­ic Air 2 is an almost per­fect drone. It is good in almost every­thing: pow­er­ful, portable, flies great, holds the bat­tery for a long time. The only dis­sat­is­fac­tion that remained with some users was that the drone’s cam­era is good, but not per­fect.

It looks like the Air 2S is designed to answer those crit­i­cisms to some extent. While the Mav­ic Air 2 fea­tures a class-lead­ing 1/2‑inch CMOS sen­sor that can shoot up to 4K video at 60 fps and 48-megapix­el pho­tos, the Air 2S has a much more advanced 1‑inch CMOS sen­sor. a matrix that records 5.4K at 30 fps, 4K at 60 fps and takes 20-megapix­el pho­tos.

DJI Air 2S vs Mavic Air 2: which is the best mid-budget drone to buyAn advanced cam­era with a one-inch matrix is ​​per­haps the most impor­tant fea­ture of the 2S. Pho­to:

Okay, the video res­o­lu­tion of the Mav­ic Air 2 could have been high­er, but aren’t 48MP shots bet­ter than 20MP ones? Not nec­es­sary. The Mav­ic Air 2’s cam­era is equipped with a Quad Bay­er col­or fil­ter and uses pix­el bin­ning to cre­ate these 48MP shots. Basi­cal­ly, it com­bines four 12MP images into one 48MP image. This method has its pros and cons. One of the dis­ad­van­tages of pix­el bin­ning is that some­times when you zoom in on a frame, details are lost in the image. This also applies to the Mav­ic Air 2 in a cer­tain way, depend­ing on the shot. This does not hap­pen with the Air 2S: the cam­era of the new drone does not use bin­ning and the Quad Bay­er fil­ter. The 20-megapix­el images from the Air 2S are native­ly like this. And they are good!

An exam­ple of a 5.4K video tak­en with the Air 2S. Source: Youtube chan­nel Drone Nerds

An exam­ple of a 4K video tak­en with the Air 2. Source: Drone Nerds Youtube chan­nel

A one-inch matrix behaves much bet­ter in low light con­di­tions. And in addi­tion to high­er video res­o­lu­tion and bet­ter pho­tos, the Air 2S sup­ports some advanced video shoot­ing fea­tures, includ­ing a 10-bit D‑log col­or pro­file (for eas­i­er col­or grad­ing in post-pro­cess­ing) and sev­er­al new DJI pro­pri­etary shoot­ing modes such as Intel­li­gent HDR ( sev­er­al shots are auto­mat­i­cal­ly com­bined to increase the dynam­ic range) and Mas­ter­Shots (the drone per­forms ten dif­fer­ent maneu­vers over the object, mak­ing short videos).

Flight characteristics

If you do not take into account the cam­era and the qual­i­ty of the shoot­ing, the dif­fer­ence between the Mav­ic Air 2 and 2S is no longer so strik­ing. The flight per­for­mance of both mod­els is at the high­est lev­el, and both quad­copters have many addi­tion­al fea­tures that will make the con­trol expe­ri­ence even more fun.

How­ev­er, the Air 2S still out­per­forms the com­peti­tor in some respects here as well. The nov­el­ty uses all the lat­est DJI tech­nolo­gies, includ­ing the Ocu­Sync 3.0 com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem, Active­Track 4.0 object track­ing, POI 3.0 points of inter­est. In the­o­ry, the Air 2S is also slight­ly bet­ter at avoid­ing obsta­cles, but not to the point of being notice­able.

In terms of speed, both drones reach a max­i­mum of 68.4 km/h in S (sport) mode. How­ev­er, the Air 2S is slight­ly faster in N mode (every­day mode, good for shoot­ing): 54 km/h ver­sus 42 km/h.

DJI Air 2S vs Mavic Air 2: which is the best mid-budget drone to buyThe Air 2S has top-mount­ed obsta­cle detec­tion sen­sors. Pho­to: DJI /

But the Mav­ic Air 2 also has advan­tages: it has a flight time of 34 min­utes on a sin­gle bat­tery charge, while the Air 2S has 31 min­utes. Of course, any drone pilot will tell you that this is an excel­lent range, but tech­ni­cal­ly the Mav­ic Air 2 is about 10 per­cent more “endurable”.


The Mav­ic Air 2 was, and still is, a great val­ue propo­si­tion, espe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing how com­pact it is and yet packed full of use­ful fea­tures. The cost of this drone is 70 thou­sand rubles*. Air 2S will cost more — 86 thou­sand, but the new mod­el is bet­ter in terms of pho­to and video shoot­ing.

DJI Air 2S vs Mavic Air 2: which is the best mid-budget drone to buyBoth mod­els fold down to a very com­pact size and are per­fect for trav­el­ers. Pho­to:

The cam­era on the Air 2S is pret­ty much the same as on the pro­fes­sion­al Mav­ic 2 Pro. It lacks a vari­able aper­ture, but the Air 2S has a wider view­ing angle (EGF 22mm in 2S ver­sus 28mm in Pro). At the same time, the cost of an advanced Mavik is almost 120 thou­sand rubles.

In fact, even one improve­ment in the cam­era could jus­ti­fy the dif­fer­ence in cost between the Air 2 and Air 2S, but in addi­tion to the nov­el­ty, you will get an updat­ed data trans­mis­sion sys­tem, advanced shoot­ing and flight func­tions, and an improved obsta­cle avoid­ance sys­tem.

DJI Air 2S Mav­ic Air 2
Dimen­sions (LxWxH) 180 × 97 × 77 mm (fold­ed) 180 × 97 × 77 mm (fold­ed)
183 × 253 × 77 mm (opened) 183 × 253 × 7 mm (opened)
Take­off weight 595 g 570 g
Flight time (max) 31 min­utes 34 min­utes
Speed ​​(max), mode S 68.4 km/h 68.4 km/h
Speed ​​(max), mode N 54 km/h 42 km/h
Matrix CMOS, 1 inch, 20 MP CMOS, 1/2 inch, 48 MP
Max­i­mum video res­o­lu­tion 5.4K at 30 fps , 4K at 60 fps 4K at 60 fps
Max­i­mum video bitrate 150 Mbps 120 Mbps
Max­i­mum pho­to res­o­lu­tion 20 MP 48 MP (pix­el bin­ning)
Recog­ni­tion of obsta­cles ahead 0.38–23.8 m 0.35–22 m
Rear obsta­cle detec­tion 0.37–23.4 m 0.37–23.6 m
Side obsta­cle detec­tion Not sup­port­ed Not sup­port­ed
Recog­ni­tion of obsta­cles from above 0.34–28.6 m Not sup­port­ed
Recog­ni­tion of obsta­cles below 0.1–8 m 0.1–8 m
Sig­nal trans­mis­sion dis­tance 12 km 10 km

As you can see, despite the sim­i­lar dimen­sions and flight char­ac­ter­is­tics, the DJI Air 2S is ahead of the sec­ond Mav­ic in a num­ber of ways.

Results: which drone to choose

Mav­ic Air 2 remains a great mod­el for trav­el­ers and begin­ner pilots. But Air 2S will give users much more — espe­cial­ly those who val­ue image qual­i­ty as much as flight per­for­mance.

  • If you were plan­ning on get­ting the Mav­ic Air 2, it’s worth con­sid­er­ing: it might make sense to add a lit­tle to the amount set aside for the pur­chase and take the more advanced Air 2S.
  • For Mav­ic Air 2 own­ers, it makes sense to upgrade if you want to improve the qual­i­ty of the shoot­ing, but at the same time keep the drone com­pact.

Or maybe you want to try some­thing com­plete­ly new: DJI has anoth­er very inter­est­ing mod­el — DJI FPV, which we wrote about ear­li­er.

* All prices are cur­rent at the time of pub­li­ca­tion of the arti­cle

In prepar­ing the arti­cle, mate­ri­als from the resources and were used


By Yara